Halloween most certainly, for me anyway, was my gateway drug into the world of horror. I had always enjoyed darker films, my mother, an avid reader of Stephen King, would let me watch the movies adapted from his books, and as a lot of kids of the 80s did, I recorded movies such as Beetlejuice and the Lost Boys and watched them over and over. It wasn't until I was thirteen that I had finally picked up the movie that would—forgive me for being so cliche—change my life. After years of thumbing through such masterpieces as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre part 2 or I Spit on your Grave, wondering what the hell these movies were about, I finally got the courage to pick one up of a particular interest. High on fast food and the smell of the local blockbuster, I pushed the VHS tape ever so slowly into the VCR and as the sun faded into its horizontal fixture, I sat, jaw dropped, eyes brazen, and something growing inside of me, something unexplainable yet daunting, a love of fear, a love of Halloween.
One can say so much about a subject before the information becomes cyclical and meandering. I have listened to many podcasts, read many articles and reviews, watched to my knowledge all of the documentaries on Halloween, and nothing has yet to explain to me why I love this film so much. Obviously, it is enduring, a classic in age and in its own time, the lighting, the atmosphere, the music, the acting, it's all wonderful and what makes this movie work. But for me, there is something about it that I can't fully explain in words which makes this my favorite film, ever. More than just nostalgia, it's a mixture of family photos taking place during Halloween night, my life's experience and the atmosphere of the settings where they took place, and the time and place and where I was in my life when I saw Halloween that explains why I have obsessed over this picture for so long.
A month or so after I first watched Halloween, I ran across a black clam shell version with a sail boat lingering on the bottom right corner. Anchor Bay entertainment had a movie library catalog included in this special edition, like all of the films they distributed at the time, I suppose before the internet became more convenient for horror fans to find what they were looking for. On this list were films like, The Evil Dead, Dawn of the Dead, The Stepford Wives and Succubus. I returned after saving some more cash and bought as many as I could, got an approval from the cashier, went home and tapped my vein for “the Ultimate in Grueling Terror.” I had seen The Exorcist, but when I saw Cheryl float in the air, waving her head side to side, and that voice!!!, whoa! I about shit myself. I had to see its sequels, and from there view all of Raimi's movies (I had already been delving into John Carpenter's work).
In short, I had seen many brilliant horror films on and off on random hankerings for the macabre during my unguided days of youth. It wasn't until I found something I could really appreciate and hold sacred that I could see the forest so to speak. Halloween was the anchor that I could bring down anytime I needed reassurance that there were more gems waiting to be found underneath each pile of junk. And now, I'm finding, its the junk that I've been waiting for all along.